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I have come across the sentence:

Andaba cerrando un negocio.

I take this to mean literally "I was walking closing a deal."

Can someone please explain this sentence where it makes a little more sense? Is that just the way it is when you're closing something down or some reason that andaba is being used here?

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  • "I was struggling to close a deal" vs "I was aiming to close a deal" vs "I was working to close a deal".
    – dockeryZ
    Commented Mar 23, 2018 at 5:56
  • If you think of "I was walking" more as "I was going down a path", then it should make more sense. Like, "I was walking on the path to closing a deal today"... it's like casual modesty.
    – dockeryZ
    Commented Mar 23, 2018 at 5:58

1 Answer 1

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Andar + gerund is a kind of progressive construction, just like estar + gerund (estaba cerrando un negocio). They are close in meaning but not identical. In English you would probably translate both using to be + -ing.

Andaba cerrando un negocio means something like "I was trying to close a deal" or "I was in the (somewhat convoluted or protracted or interrupted) process of closing a deal". Andar works like an auxiliary verb (though you won't find it as such in a basic grammar textbook); note, it has nothing to do with andar in its "to walk" meaning (although it doesn't exclude the possibility that the action involves walking or moving around, of course).

According to the Nueva Gramática de la Lengua Española (NGLE), andar + gerund is a "frequentative periphrasis". It says the phrase does not imply that the action or process is finished, and that it describes "situations that develop with interruptions or intermittently". (This is all on p. 2198 and 2199 of the NGLE, which is unfortunately not accessible directly, but if you're interested, you can go to the search page and look for the phrase "andar haciendo algo".)

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    Also: I was working on closing a deal, or I was working out the details of closing a deal. It gives me the impression it wasn't an instantaneous, one-step action. Rather, it seems to be a somewhat tricky process. So that gives us a tiny connection to the other meaning of andar -- there could be some figurative zigzagging through the process. Or maybe that's just me. Commented Mar 22, 2018 at 3:48
  • Yes, as @aparente001 points out it is this type of meaning the phrase has; it can also be paraphrased as "I was at a place closing a deal", it is an expression that shouldn't be translated literally. Commented Mar 27, 2018 at 18:01

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